Speaking at the launch of the new Archie Rose Rye Malt Whisky, Founder Will Edwards said the new spirit is representative of the transparency, industry investment and tackling challenges ethos which drives everyone at the distillery.
“One of the things that is really interesting about rye in Australia is so few people make it,” Edwards told those at the launch this week.
“When we started distilling in late 2014 there was just Peter from Belgrove and us and I think Cam at Limeburners using rye and there were only eight or nine distilleries in the whole country back then and look where we are now. But still while there have been hundreds of gins released since then and single malts, there are not many ryes and that is because it is so hard to work with.
“It has a tendency to get stuck in the mash tun, it doesn’t necessarily ferment that well – it is really challenging to work with. And for us it’s not just the scarcity that led us down the path of the rye, we really wanted to take it, and make it our own.”
Part of making it their own meant looking at the whole process and working out what they could do to make the whisky stand out.
“One of the most unique characteristics about our rye is that it is malted rye,” Edwards said. “It’s rye malt whisky. There are only a handful of examples globally of people making whisky from malts instead of grain.
“What using malt instead of grain does is completely change the flavour profile. It’s a lot of work to dial that it, but it means it sits much more between a single malt whisky and a traditional American, spice-forward in-you-face rye. So it has a lot more complexity and has a lot more going on and if you are new to rye but love your single malts, you are going to find this a lot more interesting than a lot of the ryes you may have tried.”
Edwards said that while there are some techniques they’ve used in production, the other key element for this whisky is the casks they have used.
“We use 36 month, air-dried virgin American oak casks. That means that the oak itself has been dried in the open air for three years. Most casks are kiln dried, which is a super-quick process so air-dried casks are really hard to come by. They are actually looking to discontinue making them, but with the orders that we have put in they are going to continue making them for us. But these casks help add a whole different level to the spirit, and it’s another massive part of balancing the uniqueness of the rye malt.”
The other characteristic behind the Rye Malt Whisky is the information that Archie Rose has made available to the public, as Edwards explained.
“The other thing this spirit has allowed us to showcase is the spirits data piece. For us, from the beginning the transparency of what we do is core to who we are. This whisky has been called out as a non-age statement spirit, but you can go on our website and see the age of every single cask in the blend and there’s something like 40 casks used. But not only that you can see the toast level, the char level, when it was laid down, where it was matured – everything. So for us this is so representative of what we are trying to do here, which is open up spirits production and not shy away from sharing what we are doing.
“The other thing is the pricing. We’ve worked really hard to really push and get this spirit out there at the most approachable price point we can. The fact is that we are not here to make a quick buck, we are here and we are investing in the industry and we are investing in equipment and we are driving things forward.”
The first batch of the Rye Malt Whisky went on sale through a ballot and on the Archie Rose website this week, with further batches coming in September which will be released into bars, restaurants and bottle shops. The Rye Malt is the first whisky to become part of the core range of products from Archie Rose.